The Spectacle Blog

Sausage Making Is Ugly

By on 6.28.06 | 4:32PM

Rep. Jack Kingston introduces "MailTube": upload a video question to Google Video or YouTube, then Kingston will answer you via a YouTube video.

It's a neat idea, but Kingston should have invited a couple more questions, because his first answer is a bumbling journey through the sausage making of the Appropriations Committee. It goes something like, well, I would like to oppose earmarks, but you see, Democrats like earmarks, and so do Republicans, and we need those guys to vote on budgets, so we've got to sweeten the deal a little.

Sometimes our representatives are wise to shun sunlight's disinfecting rays.

Assad’s House Buzzed

By on 6.28.06 | 3:03PM

By Israeli planes. Unfortunately, this probably won't do much to change Syrian policy.

The Israelis buzzed Assad's house in August 2003 and bombed an Islamic Jihad training camp in Syria in October 2003. Meanwhile, Americans in Iraq have made hot pursuit incursions into Syria. There has been no response to any this (except through terrorist proxies). Given the Syrians' apparent impotence in the face of such aggression, you'd think we'd have tremendous diplomatic leverage with Damascus. So why isn't Assad bending over backwards to please the US and Israel? Probably because he's incapable of it: Syria isn't run by an iron-fisted dictator like Assad's dad anymore, but rather by a patchwork of competing factions within the Baath party, the military, and the various secuirty services. As long as Assad is in place as a figurehead, we won't know who really runs Syria. And until we know that, it won't be clear which house(s) really needs rattling.

Always 1965 vs. “That South Is Gone”

By on 6.28.06 | 3:01PM

I had a chance to attend a Federalist Society event this afternoon on the renewal of certain provisions of the Voting Rights Act. The main questions surround Section 5, which mandates that certain Southern states (and parts of California and New York) pre-clear any voting law changes with the Justice Department (explained well here and in further detail by Quin Hillyer on the blog last week). For the status quo were Daniel Tokaji and Julie Fernandes, both of the ACLU at one time or another, and for not renewing Section 5 were Abigail Thernstrom, of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and Linda Chavez.

The history of the statute was helpful. Sections 4 and 5 were understood to be emergency provisions, which would expire in 1970.

A Drowning Truth?

By on 6.28.06 | 3:00PM

First hurricanes, then droughts, now


See the new Tom Toles cartoon.

This "linking-global-warming-to-every-bit-of-bad-weather" tactic scares me. Perhaps it will extend beyond weather. I mean, if they can link global warming to why my socks keep getting lost in the wash, I'll have little choice but to support Kyoto.

Today on the Michael Medved Show

By on 6.28.06 | 2:50PM

Ok, pilgrims, listen up. I'm subbing for Michael again today (3-6 EDT on Salem Radio Net). We'll have a very lively show, with John McIntyre of RealClearPolitics, Cong. J.D. Hayworth and - alas, though he's not an on-air guest - lots more from Howlin' Howie Dean. See ya on the radio.

Super Music

By on 6.28.06 | 1:56PM

Since Superman Returns has hit theaters, let me take this opportunity to recommend Michael Daugherty's fun and engaging Metropolis Symphony. Unlike most contemporary compositions, it's as accessible as Beethoven or Brahms; I once heard Daugherty explain that, having been educated in composition in the 1970s, when melodic music was frowned upon, he had to draw on his experience in a rock band to learn how to write melodies. (The one negative review on the Amazon page should be read as a positive review in disguise -- the reviewer speaks highly of the coterie of "legitimate" atonal composers who spent the second half of the 20th century systematically alienating classical music from its audience.)

Re: Religion Has Its Uses

By on 6.28.06 | 1:01PM

I don't really get your point, Wlady. Though Superman was created by two Jews, Superman-as-Christ-metaphor is hardly a new idea. Brando's God-the-Father lines from the 1978 Superman aren't terribly subtle: "They can be a great people, Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you... my only son." According to the reviewer (I haven't seen Superman Returns yet, though you can bet I'll be heading to the theater this afternoon), the new movie plays up the Christ angle, right down to editing in Brando's performance, and the reviewer is riffing off this. If religious metaphors are blasphemous, than the history of Western literature is one long story of blasphemy.

House to Condemn NYT?

By on 6.28.06 | 9:08AM

The Hill reports that House Republican leaders will introduce a resolution today condemning the New York Times for revealing classified information and compromising government efforts against terrorists. (Hat tip to Tim Chapman.)

I expect this discussion to build momentum for Congressional Republicans on the issue of the war on terror. Like others have written, this could be the Democrats' issue if only they would quit botching it. If this resolution comes to a vote, it will be an entertaining one.

Religion Has Its Uses

By on 6.27.06 | 10:25PM

Is this the most blasphemous thing you've ever read? Here's how New York Times movie critic Manohla Dargis opens her review at the top of page 1 of today Arts section:

"Jesus of Nazareth spent 40 days in the desert. By comparison, Superman of Hollywood languished almost 20 years in development hell."

Lest you think I'm kidding, Dargis two sentences later notes that "the Man of Steel has been resurrected..." And there's more where that came from.

A Burning Truth?

By on 6.27.06 | 5:37PM

First its hurricanes, now


If you want more biased reporting, see the recent spate of articles about this. Particuarly good is the video clip from CNN. They interview noted global warming alarmist, Michael Hanemann, director of the California Climate Change Center. Naturally, they don't interview anyone who is a skeptic of the link between global warming and wildfires. According to Hanemann, "The last decade is clearly warmer than the previous 400 years and these fires and the drought are associated with that unusual increase in warming."